The Humility of Asking for Prayers for Yourself

Within my own life, there are a few common sentiments expressed in everyday life that make my heart twinge with sharp little pains every time I hear them. Things like misunderstandings of the Church and the misuse of God’s name. One of these phrasings which cause me a little bit of sadness every time I hear it is when someone prefaces a prayer request with the words, “I never ask for prayers for myself, but…” As if, typically, they are undeserving of prayer, but things have escalated to the point that now they warrant God’s attention. I’ll let you in on a little secret… God is already paying attention to you!

Three Lies Dealing with Asking for Prayers for Yourself

I am not sure why it is that so many people feel this guilt or unworthiness for God’s attention and grace, but I am going to take an educated guess that it has something to do with Satan’s subtle twisting of truth. In fact, I am 100% going to speculate that people who have fallen into this habit of not asking for prayers for themselves personally are actually believing three subtle lies from the enemy: one about God, one about humility, and one about themselves.

The Lie about God

I grew up with six siblings. It was a fun, chaotic, busy home. As one of the older siblings, I have very vivid memories of my thought-process as a child. I did not want to bother my parents with anything unless I absolutely, without a doubt, needed their assistance. This was a decision I made out of love, not wanting to put more on their already-full plate. I knew they would stop and help me in anyway I needed them. But trying to take care of things on my own was my way of showing my love and care for them. I knew they had emotional, mental, and even physical limits. I also knew I was fairly competent and capable.

I think this mentality is sometimes the mentality through which we view God. But God is not limited as are our parents. He is eternal, so He has no time constraints. He is omniscient, so He does not have to “think” about what to do in order to help us. He already knows, so our requests do not overwhelm Him. God is omnipresent, meaning He is present everywhere, in everyone, and in everything around us. He does not have to change anything about what He is doing in order to be fully present to His relationship with each one of us.

This means He does not even really multi-task, because multitasking involves splitting one’s focus between multiple things at one time. God is able to completely focus on everything, all at the same time.

Praying for oneself, or asking others to pray for you, does not take anything away from anyone else in the world. In fact, it helps the world, because a better “you” will shine more light and goodness in the world.

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The Lie about Humility

Satan likes to tell us that it is humility that keeps us from praying for ourselves. But I would argue that it is actually masked pride.

Too often individuals think of humility as thinking less of oneself, putting others before ourselves, downplaying our strengths, denying the goodness of the gifts we have and the truths of who we are. We devalue compliments and praise from others. In doing this, we have convinced ourselves that we are somehow being virtuous, keeping pride and vanity at bay. That simply is not true.

Lessening the truth of who we truly are is actually a lie. And all lies come from the Master of Lies.

In all actuality, humility is knowing exactly who you are before God. It is knowing and owning all your strengths, and all your weaknesses. It is accepting praise when it is merited, and denying it when not. It is accepting help when it is needed and being vulnerable with others about our limits.

In reference to this topic, humility can also be thought of as the acknowledgment of one’s need for constant prayers, because it is knowing that we are in constant need God and His grace.

The Catechism connects the virtue of humility to the Beatitudes, specifically the first which reads, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (CCC 2546, Matthew 5:3).

No matter their state in life, rich or poor, struggling or thriving, hurting or praising, the “poor in spirit” live their lives totally reliant on God (as if they actually have nothing; hence the title, “poor in spirit”). Thus, to be humble is to know that you need God in every moment.

The Lie about Yourself

The Bible actually gives us two creation stories, both found in Genesis. Chapter one describes the creation of man as the culmination of creation, the highlight of God’s creative genius. God speaks and these creatures come into existence. Man and woman are to be rulers over the world as they are made in God’s image and likeness.

Contrastingly, in chapter two, man is made differently. God takes mud from near the river and shapes and forms man, who is then given the task of serving and cultivating the garden, not ruling it.

Both of these stories tell the truth about us as persons. We are made in God’s image and likeness. We are meant to “rule” and to “serve” in this world, but we are also often “muddy.” In order to be our full selves, and truly rule over sin and Satan within our lives, we need grace. We need others to be interceding for us everyday, but especially when we feel the pressures of the enemy. We should never feel guilty for that!

We Need Each Other

Each of us has a mission in this world, a mission that could change the course of others’ lives. Satan will stop at nothing to minimize the good effects of our lives in this world, including slowing us down by subtly leading us to think that we either do not need or do not merit others’ prayers. Again, this is not true.

Your world needs the best version of you; the prayers of others helps you achieve that.

So sisters, never be ashamed, embarrassed, or hesitant to come before one another in need of prayer. Whether the intention is big or small, it is truly important for this world, and in the eyes of God.

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Grace Bellon is a regular contributor to the BIS blog. She’s a lover of bearded men, rich coffee, cheesy puns, cuddly doggies, and Catholicism. You can find out more about her here (warned ya she liked cheesy puns).

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